- Why this season will be better than last for Arsenal
- When it comes to Arabia Arsenal haven’t lost anyone
The Mirror’s headline read, “Pep Guardiola proven right in Mikel Arteta dispute over Premier League rule changes,” while the article below it continued, “Guardiola was naturally furious at the final whistle after his team had lost via a penalty shootout.”
So, first and foremost what exactly was Pep ‘proven right’ about and “naturally furious” about? It was of course the notion that too much time was added on in the Community Shield game as a response to the delays that were incurred.
And yet, as I will show below, a perfectly legitimate eight minutes were added, followed by another perfectly legitimate three minutes.
So, given the correct amount of time was added, why does the Mirror consider the complaints perfectly legitimate? Surely not simply because those added minutes favoured Arsenal?
Either way, on the back of this heinous amount of added time, the Mirror asked a few of their writers for their opinions on this match in particular, as well as the rules regarding added-on time. Here we have a tiny selection of their views, and we look to see if they even have a toe in reality.
“My first two games of the season, at Vicarage Road and Wembley, contained 32 minutes of added time between them, and two-thirds of those appendages were for non-existent delays.”
Well, I’m not sure what happened at Vicarage Road but what I do know is that a mere 8 minutes was added at Wembley, which as you will see from my analysis that follows, was perfectly reasonable. Of course, we then had the clash of heads in the first couple of minutes of added time meaning a further 3 minutes had to be added.
“Not every game warrants 10, 15, 20 minutes of added time, so how about referees adopting the most under-used law in football – common sense – to police hideous skullduggery some people call game management?”
Well, two things Mr Walters. Only eight minutes were initially added. Not 10, not 15, and certainly not 20. So I suppose Walters does realise that the first indication that an argument lacks validity is to grossly exaggerate details in order to make your point.
And since when is football supposed to be refereed by ‘common sense’? There I was thinking it was by applying the Laws of the Game. Silly me. But unfortunately, he continues:
“Oh, and one last thing: If players start dropping like flies with hamstring and calf injuries because they are having to play 105 minutes every week instead of 90, are referees going to pick up the tab for their wages while the injured parties are out of action?”
Really, I mean really?
First off we have the exaggeration again. Under what premise is he assuming we will get 15 minutes added on time every match? There is nothing to indicate anything like that is going to be added on. Even Sunday, with a head injury and a goal in added time we played 12 minutes 41 seconds extra time.
And as for additional injuries. These players are fitter than they have ever been. Every parameter of their well-being is monitored to the second. They play on bowling greens. We have massive squads allowing for rotation. We have five substitutes. The utter thuggery that blighted football back in the day has largely been eradicated.
Compared to the players of the 70’s these players are pampered poodles. To suggest the addition of about 5 or 6 minutes, at most, to what they have been playing for the last 10 years or so, is going to cause a National pandemic of additional injuries is beyond ridiculous. Then we have:
Alan Smith then joined in writing, ” Yes, its basic intentions are pure enough – but when the more histrionic team ends up benefitting, as Arsenal did yesterday, it makes a mockery of the plan to punish time-wasting”.
What is he talking about? Arsenal did not waste one minute of time through any ‘histrionics’. We contributed to one significant piece of added time, and that was an injury to Odegaard that required strapping. The other significant event was the head collision, hardly Party being histrionic I would suggest, and of course it involved players from both teams anyway. Surely he’s not just making it up to make Arsenal look bad? Surely Smith wouldn’t be that crass?
And yet he goes on…
“A match should be 90 minutes, not 100. Time wasting should instead be punished by referees showing cards and hefty fines. Not by making those of us watching from the stands endure even more”.
“ENDURE!!!!” First Mr Smith, you get to see it for free. No, worse, you get paid to see it. It’s your job. I am so sorry you have to ‘endure’ watching it. Some people have paid £100’s to watch 90 minutes of football. You being on a paid-for beano may mean you don’t care if you get short-changed, but I’m sure those who have to pay would be over the moon about ‘enduring’ a bit more of what they paid for. You are a disgrace, Smith.
Moving on to the actual timing stats from yesterday’s match, I’ve compiled them using the guidelines used. During the World Cup back in 2018, where the statistical analysis website FiveThirtyEight decided to take a look at the amount of stoppage time being added to games
They allowed a certain amount of ‘natural’ time before it was adding time to their stoppages. The ‘natural’ time was based on the average length of time taken for each activity, which were as follows:
|Event||Average Time Taken In Seconds|
|Arguing With Offical||30|
In other words, if there was a penalty given and it took two minutes to be taken, only the second minute would be counted as an ‘excessive stoppage’.
I used the same criteria for adding time on Sunday. This is what I found in the second half:
GOAL KICKS, FREE KICKS, CORNER KICKS AND THROW-INS
- 20 seconds. Believe or not those parameters above were only exceeded throughout the entire 2nd half to the tune of 20 seconds. Yep 20 seconds.
- 2 Minutes 41 Seconds
- 4 Minutes
- 1 Minute 10 Seconds
That’s a grand total of 8 Minutes and 11 Seconds to be added. The referee, as we know, added a minimum of 8 Minutes. Absolutely spot on. Then of course during that added time we had the head injury that occurred at 92.05. Play resumed at 96.01. = 3 Minutes 56 Seconds additional added time. This all meant the game should now have 8.11 + 3.56 = 12 minutes and 7 Seconds additional time, or a duration of 102 Minutes and 7 seconds.
We scored our equalizer on 100 Minutes and 9 Seconds, comfortably within the requisite additional time. So what Pep is so uppity about? For all his faults, the referee was actually spot on with his timekeeping.
And as for the Mirror using this as a stick with which to bash Arsenal beggars belief. Beggars belief, but doesn’t surprise.
- Yesterday’s game: how Arsenal won, and where the journalists got things wrong
- Brentford v Arsenal: past exploits and the Arsenal team news
- French authorities issue arrest warrant over awarding of World Cup to Qatar
- Brentford v Arsenal: the history and the build up, with some extraordinary odds
- Brentford v Arsenal: tackles, fouls, yellow cards and the home v away record